Leading Organizations in the Field Challenge Myths about Learning Disabilities Including Dyslexia

Myths about learning disabilities rob many of their potential to succeed and contribute in school and in the workplace, according to a white paper released during Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia Awareness Month in October by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) and the Learning Disabilities Association of America (LDA).

IDA and LDA recognize that in the absence of accurate and early identification and intervention, individuals with learning disabilities are at grave risk of never accessing their full academic, creative, and career potential. The untapped potential of individuals with learning disabilities is not simply a matter of personal tragedy. Under-serving this significant population has negative economic and society implications.

According to Jennifer Topple, Board Chair of IDA, “Pervasive myths and misconceptions interfere with efforts to support and meet the needs of all students and prepare them to become productive members of our workforce.”

Learning disabilities (LDs) result from neurologically based processing disorders unrelated to IQ that have an impact on an individual’s ability to process, store, or produce information. LDs can affect one’s ability to read, write, speak, spell, compute math, and reason.

LDs often go undetected because they cannot be seen. They should not be confused with other disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, autism, deafness, blindness, and behavioral disorders.

The white paper points out that with appropriate intervention and support, all children, including those with learning disabilities, can have the tools and resources they need to live their best possible lives. This will result in many more individuals with learning disabilities acquiring the adaptive skills needed to seamlessly integrate their use of assistive technology and other supports into the performance of their jobs.

Beth McGaw, President of LDA explains, “As family, friends, neighbors, employers and fellow citizens we can help all students, including those with learning disabilities, achieve their potential and lead fulfilling, productive lives.” This can be accomplished by understanding the nature of learning disabilities and insisting upon access for all to the early identification, appropriate remediation, and life-long support needed to become productive and valuable members of our community.

IDA and LDA are two organizations with the longest histories of serving individuals with LD. They have resolved to work together to combat the misperceptions that lead to stigmatization and unfulfilled potential in individuals with learning disabilities.